Join our mailing list!

Buy Tickets | Friend Woolly | Follow Woolly | Woolly Blog | Donate

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Defy convention


by Sheila Callaghan
directed by Howard Shalwitz

featuring company members Jessica Frances Dukes, Kimberly Gilbert, Kate Eastwood Norris and Michael Willis, with Daniel Eichner, Drew Eshelman, and KenYatta Rogers


June 1 – June 28, 2009

Appropriate for ages 14 and up.

OverviewWho's whoSchedule and PricesAdditional Info

About the Show

Chained to his desk in the basement of customer service hell, Segis suddenly finds himself set free in the CEO’s penthouse—but is it a dream? This raucous reinvention of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream gleefully skewers corporate America with razor-sharp wit and the biggest cast ever assembled on Woolly’s stage.


ACE COMIC PERFORMANCES, sleek design and bracing direction. Enjoyably stylish [with an] antic pace and witty aesthetic
Washington Post

AMBITIOUS, often UPROARIOUS. An irresistibly unflappable Michael Willis; Kimberly Gilbert bumps up the knife-edge comedy quotient; a flat-out hysterical turn from Jessica Frances Dukes
City Paper

A PIZZAZZ-FILLED CONCOCTION THAT SKEWERS CORPORATISM WITH A GENEROUS SUPPLY SIDE OF LAUGHS. [Callaghan] is without doubt the purveyor of top-shelf American wit. Director Howard Shalwitz, utterly simpatico with Callaghan's fast and furious twists and turns, delivers A SUPERBLY ENTERTAINING PRODUCTION, keeping his excellently cast ensemble primed and spinning like so many plates in the air.
Metro Weekly

[Callaghan has] a keen eye for the outlandish.  Exudes the kind of infectious zaniness that occasionally attracts cult followings.  Shalwitz's incessantly over-the-top staging…drives this play.

I can’t remember the last time a play made me laugh so hard. Between the chuckles and belly laughs, the dialog is surprisingly layered, and gives the audience plenty to think about. Fever/Dream is ABOUT AS FUNNY AS THE SHARPEST HOLLYWOOD COMEDY, AND FAR MORE REWARDING. An innovative production.
Rich comic acting.




This event is presented as part of the program
Preview Spain: Arts & Culture

...with additional support from:

Who's Who


SHEILA CALLAGHAN’s (Playwright) plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, and Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre, and produced internationally in New Zealand, Norway, Germany, and the Czech Republic.  She is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a 2005 Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the prestigious Whiting Award.  She has been commissioned by Playwright's Horizons, South Coast Repertory, The Playwright's Foundation, Clubbed Thumb, and EST/Sloan.  Her full-length plays include Scab, Crawl Fade to White, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), We Are Not These Hands, Dead City, Lascivious Something, Kate Crackernuts, and That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play, which recently premiered Off-Broadway.  She has taught playwriting at Columbia University, The University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, and Florida State University, and she is currently on the faculty at Spalding University's MFA program in creative writing.  She is a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, a member of the Obie-winning playwright's organization 13P, and a resident of New Dramatists.  Sheila is currently a writer on the Showtime series The United States of Tara.


JESSICA FRANCES DUKES (Claire) was recently seen in Antebellum at Woolly Mammoth and Unleashed: The Secret Lives of White House Pets at The Kennedy Center.  Her regional credits include Starving (Woolly Mammoth), The Piano Lesson (Geva Theater/Indiana Rep), Spunk (Tribute Productions/African Continuum Theatre Company; Helen Hayes Award nomination), Jitney (Ford’s Theatre/African Continuum), Insurrection: Holding History (Theater Alliance), and other productions at Studio Theatre, Horizon Theater (GA), The Kennedy Center, Theater Alliance, and Washington Stage Guild.  She has a B.S from Frostburg State University and an MFA from Catholic University.  Jessica currently teaches Fundamentals of Acting at Montgomery College and is a Woolly Company Member.

DANIEL EICHNER (Segis) is excited to be performing with Woolly Mammoth for the first time.  He has been seen onstage in the Washington area at various theaters, including Shakespeare Theatre Company (Romeo and Juliet, Pericles at Carter Barron), Arena Stage (Christmas Carol 1941), African Continuum Theatre (Intimate Apparel), GALA Theatre (The True History of Coca-Cola in Mexico), Washington Shakespeare Company (Hedda Gabler, Edward III, Titus Andronicus, Macbeth), Synetic Theatre/Theater J (The Dybbuk), Actors' Theatre of Washington (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), Potomac Theatre Project (Measure For Measure), Journeymen Theater (The Inspector General), Source Theatre (Loman Family Picnic), and Studio Theatre (Conversations With My Father).  Love to his family.

DREW ESHELMAN (Bill Basil) makes his Woolly Mammoth debut with Fever/Dream.  Most recently, he was seen in The Winter’s Tale (Folger Theatre).  At the Shakespeare Theatre Company, his credits include Romeo and Juliet (Helen Hayes Award nomination), The Imaginary Invalid, The Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labor’s Lost (at Carter Barron), and The Beaux’ Stratagem.  On Broadway, Drew was seen in Les Misérables, and on national tours of The Boyfriend (dir. Julie Andrews) and The Sound of Music (with Richard Chamberlain).  He has worked extensively in regional theatre, film, and television for the last 39 years, including six seasons with the American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco).

KIMBERLY GILBERT (Rose) is so happy and grateful to be back at Woolly.  A Company Member since 2006, she has been seen in Cooking With Elvis, Big Death & Little Death, Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis, The K of D, Measure For Pleasure, and Boom.  Other DC theatres she has worked with have been Taffety Punk (where she is also a company member), Round House, Folger, Source, Washington Shakespeare Company, Scena, The Kennedy Center.  Kimberly is a proud graduate of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting.

KATE EASTWOOD NORRIS (Stella Strong) is very proud to be one of Woolly’s newest Company Members and so happy to be a part of this production.  Her previous Woolly credits were She Stoops To Comedy (receiving her second Helen Hayes Award), Big Love, and Bug.  Kate has been seen in many DC area theatres, including the Folger Theatre and has worked regionally all across the U.S., her favorite cities being Philadelphia and Santa Cruz.  With this production Kate has reached the big 5 - 0 for number of professional productions!  Visit Kate at

KENYATTA ROGERS (Aston Martin) is thrilled to return to Woolly having last appeared in Rocket to the Moon.  Regional credits include Eurydice and A Lesson Before Dying (Round House), Insurrection: Holding History (Theater Alliance), Jitney (African Continuum/Ford’s Theatre), Venus (Olney Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Arena Stage), and numerous productions withAfrican Continuum Theatre.  He has also performed with Washington Shakespeare Company, Folger Theatre, and Shakespeare & Company.  KenYatta holds a BA from Clark Atlanta University and an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a proud member of the theatre faculty at Montgomery College. Thanks always to Kasai and Michelle, his heart and soul.

MICHAEL WILLIS (Fred Clotaldo), a Woolly Company Member for almost 25 years, has appeared in Current Nobody, The Faculty Room, Grace, Patience, Sharon and Billy, and NY Mets, to name just a few.  He has also appeared at the Folger, Round House, Arena Stage, New Playwrights, and Burn Brae and Kings Jester Dinner theatres.  Nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards, he received the award for The Boys Next Door at Round House.  Michael’s numerous films include Pushing Tin, Men in Black, and Just the Ticket, and on television, a four season recurring role on The Wire, six years on Homicide: Life on the Streets, and several appearances on Law & Order.   Michael is grateful to his wonderful and loving family, wife Lori, and their children Mike Jr., Amy, and Rebecca for the unconditional support and tolerance they offer as he pursues his muse.

Employees of Basil Enterprises

Andrew Blau
Lauren Ciandella
Michael Davis
Alice Gibson
Mark Halpern
Shannon Listol
Amanda Miller
Katie Rooney
Matt Sparacino
Anastasia Stewart
Scott Whalen

Production Team:

Set Design…Misha Kachman                
Lighting Design…Colin K. Bills
Costume Design…Franklin Labovitz
Sound Design…Veronika Vorel
Choreography…Meisha Bosma
Video Design…Evan Martella
Properties Master…Jennifer Sheetz


Kimberly Gilbert, Daniel Eichner, and Jessica Frances Dukes; photo by Stan Barouh


Schedule & Prices


June 1 28, 2009

Tickets $25 $60


Click here for exact dates and prices...


Additional Information:



“Sheila Callaghan is emerging as one of the most original voices in the American theatre, so it’s enormous fun to launch her most ambitious play yet at Woolly Mammoth.  Life Is a Dream has long been a favorite of mine, and Sheila’s natural zaniness completely transforms the tone and intent of this great classic for our own times.  But Fever/Dream remains a big undertaking – with Woolly Company Members alongside a lively chorus of college students as accountants and office drones.  There will be a very physical language to the production as well.  I’ve been inspired and energized by my collaboration with one of our region’s most original choreographers, Meisha Bosma – and the result will be a vigorously physical, hip corporate comedy that caps off the season.”

– Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director



In a dank basement of an American mega-corporation, a forgotten employee, Segis is literally chained to his desk, droning mindless answers to innocuous phone queries when he is discovered by feisty courier Rose and her sidekick, Claire.  Soon, Segis finds out that Bill Basil is his father and is stepping aside from Basil Enterprises to make Segis the new CEO – or is it just a dream?  A sudden elevator ride to the executive suite takes our hero on a kaleidoscopic power trip that reorders the corporate bureaucracy and unsettles the hearts of its employees.  This raucous and highly physical comic reinvention of Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s classic Life is a Dream gleefully skewers corporate America with razor-sharp wit and the biggest cast ever assembled on Woolly’s stage.

(In Calderon’s play about the conflict between fate and free will, the king has had his son Segismundo imprisoned all of his life because it had been prophesied that he will be the downfall of the country. All are told that his son died after childbirth. After his son has grown to be a man, the king reveals all, allowing the son to become heir, but things take a violent turn. Segismundo is drugged, returned to his prison, and told it was all merely a dream).

IN SHORT: A hilarious and highly physical reimagining of the Spanish classic Life is a Dream, now in a contemporary business setting skewering corporate America.

  • PLAYWRIGHT: Sheila Callaghan. Her play That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play has recently garnerned a lot of attention in its Off-Broadway premiere. She is a writer on Showtime’s United States of Tara with Toni Collette. Locally, Catalyst Theater produced her plays We Are Not These Hands and Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake).
  • The production features choreography and movement by Meisha Bosma of BosmaDance, as well as members of the University of MD community, including faculty member Misha Kachman (set designer), graduate student Frank Labovitz (costume designer), and undergrad Thembi Duncan (assistant director), as well as nine students as accountants/associates, some of whom took a script/movement class with Howard and Meisha this winter at UMD in preparation for the production.
  • AGE: recommended for ages 14 & up.
Buy Tickets Purchase a Subscription

Kate Eastwood Norris and
KenYatta Rogers

Daniel Eichner

Michael Willis and Kimberly Gilbert


Woolly Mammoth thanks the following patrons for their generous support of Fever/Dream:

Mary Abbajay & Christopher Marlow
Kenneth W. Crow & Basil Halabi
The Embassy of Spain
Sandra & James F. Fitzpatrick
Elizabeth & Paul L. Friedman
Linette S. Hwu
JPI/Jenkins Row on Capitol Hill
Richard Kasten
Karl K. & Carrol Benner Kindel
Eleanor Roberts Lewis &
Roger K. Lewis
Carl E. & Undine A. Nash
Tracy Tajbl & Neil Kent Jones
Judy & Leo Zickler

Warning: include(.../incl/signature.html) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/81/8702381/html/public/performances/show_fever_dream.php on line 232

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '.../incl/signature.html' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5_3/lib/php') in /home/content/81/8702381/html/public/performances/show_fever_dream.php on line 232